Those of us who are advanced enough in age will remember U.S. President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, telling the public in a televised speech that the world was in fact running out of oil at a rapid pace – a popular Peak Oil theory of the time – and that the US had to wean itself off of the commodity. Since the day of that speech, worldwide oil output has actually increased by more than 30%, and known available reserves are higher than they were at that time.
The main reason why Peak Oil theorists always turn out to be wrong is that they by and large appear to be unable to grasp the huge role advancing technology plays in allowing the industry to discover new oil resources previously unknown, to access known resources that were previously thought to be unexploitable, and to extract an ever-increasing percentage of oil long known to be in place via secondary and tertiary recovery techniques. They appear to believe – either through lack of imagination or due to political convenience – that current assessments of available resources in known formations will always remain static and never increase, never understanding or acknowledging that those assessments will rise along with advances in technology.
And so it should surprise no one that The Oil Drum, a site devoted a theory based on lack of imagination and growing irrelevance among prevailing thought around the oil and gas industry, was unable to sustain a critical mass of interest and will soon be closing its proverbial doors.